Back in Matanzas... the Faílde Has Been Created

Back in Matanzas... the Faílde Has Been Created
Fecha de publicación: 
20 April 2022
Imagen principal: 

Ten years ago, they first appeared in the Cuban music scene ready to defend the tradition and revitalise it. They’ve done. The danzón received with them a crucial breath of life, and not only danzón, many of the most authentic rhythms of popular Cuban music.

In these years they have been nominated, won awards, good reviews, and much applause, an audience that follows them (perhaps this is one of the greatest achievements, the building of an audience), but for Ethiel Faílde, flutist and director of Faílde Orchestra, the most important thing, the most beautiful thing along the way, has been the learning and the brotherhood:

"Ten years it’s said quickly, but there’s a lot of dedication, sacrifice, setbacks and love that can’t fit in these lines. Ten years is for most of us a third of our lives. It’s beautiful and complex to keep a handful of young people together, who without professional experience launched themselves not after the timba success of the moment or to flirt with fashionable music. But it has been worth it. We are a family of brothers, small, but very close".

"La Faílde has managed to come together, it already shows a unique sound", Ethiel says, and he assures that they have gained in experience "without losing the joy and desire to eat the world, typical of youth".

They tore through the believe of geographical fatalism, on the contrary, where others see an obstacle, they found firm steps: "We did experiments, we concretized some ideas and discarded others, but everything always from Matanzas, from our city, without moving to Havana, always traveling on the road, but always coming back and moving on…"

The youngest musician of the Faílde is 17 years old, his name is Ricardito and he plays the trombone: "he is a beautiful product of Matanzas artistic education, of his talent and the love of his family. We are very proud of him," says Ethiel, however, the trombonist is just one example of how quickly an artist or band can grow:

"We have evolved in the maturity of our artistic proposal, features, sound, repertoire, image, what identifies us. Today we have a stable crew. Many people in Cuba and the world already know the orchestra. The dynamics of our live performances it’s based on the balance and potential of the format, with times for the band to shine and times for Yurisán and Yerlanis with original songs and versions orchestrated especially for and by us. All of this we have managed to reflect into our discography, which soon it will be made up of five studio albums and a DVD".

For Ethiel, there are two visible stages within the orchestra's life: "in the first five years everything happened slower, we first performed and changed what was not working, listening to the public and the experts, but with a very local projection. After the A Prado y Neptuno concert, in late 2015, and throughout 2016, events occurred that marked us for the best and for worst: my mother’s depart, who played an essential role in the work of the orchestra; he first album with Egrem and the AHS; the appearance of Pedro Pablo Cruz to assume the role of manager and strategist; the celebration of the first International Danzonero Encounter; we lost members and all of the sudden we had almost no work at all; against all those odds we got closer and, we pulled the extra and we were back on track with the support of institutions like the Province Culture Directorate of Matanzas, Egrem, AHS, the Institute of Music, and the Ministry of Culture.

"In this last stage we have achieved a national and international projection. The presence at the Kennedy Center in Washington and in more than 20 cities in Mexico, Canada, Martinique, and Peru; the collaborations with our beloved Omara Portuondo and Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba; the Cubadisco Award in 2019; the nomination to the Latin Grammy in 2020 and the talks of our work in the Billboard, The Washington Post or Songlines, are just a bit example of it".

Logically, they have had to bring about changes and adapt to those who arrived without planning, because that’s life, but some things, says Ethiel, will never change:

"The truth with which we approach our entire repertoire, starting from danzón music. That laugh and that way of feeling music has not changed, years have allowed us to better connect with the essences, uphold ourselves. Another thing that has not changed it’s the happiness and good vibe, the affection we all have for each other, musicians and crew, when someone gets sick, when we have to take care of Isabela, the daughter of our violinist Rosalí, when there’s a party. We have not lost respect for the rehearsal I even think that we value it and take advantage of it even more. You don’t get on stage to improvise, improvisation is all in the rehearsal sessions, that is respect for the public and for ourselves, which doesn’t mean that there’s no room for joy, spontaneity, and improvisation, but with very clear thoughts.

"The love for Matanzas, its culture and its people is something that has always been and will remain for good. We have a principle: wherever Faílde enters, all of the Matanzas’s talent can fit in. There is Danzoneando TV and other programs we’ve done, the audiovisual productions and events, for which we have summoned a long list of artists from our province".

Faílde is currently recording its fifth album with EGREM, which should be out on digital platforms by late May. About the album, the director of the orchestra told us that "it will have collaborations with artists that we greatly admire, such as: Omara Portuondo, Silvio Rodríguez, Alexander Abreu and Gaby Moreno (Guatemala), just to say a few names. It includes anthological danzon songs, new songs and, of course, son music, guaracha, timba, bolero, chachachá... everything that Faílde normally does in a concert.

Other projects? Of course: "After this we’ll start working on a music album for children with Omara. In addition, we are developing a space every Sunday, at 10 p.m., at the Cabaret Continental in Varadero, a quite unique product for the evening of the spa and that wants to show Matanzas culture with dignity and beauty. Since February we’ve been touring our province thanks to the desire of the Provincial Culture Directorate, something that has kept us very excited because there are municipalities we didn’t know, and in parallel we carry out a tour with the Verdarte Company through different neighborhoods of Havana, taking the musical show with all its ingredients to the community.

"There is a will on behalf of Cubavisión for Danzoneando to be back on air, and all the ideas, scripts and repertoire are ready for when they give us the green light, something that we suppose should happen in the second half of the year."

It seems like a lot of work for ten years, but they feel "there’s a lot to do yet. We have so many goals and dreams can’t fit in this interview and that help us to walk. I will mention just a few: to have a fixed space in the city, a meeting systematic with our most loyal audience, the one who knows us best and has seen us born and grow, that more people dance in Cuba, danzón, son music, timba, that this beautiful expression of our culture is never lost and we can give it new energy; that the streets and schools of Matanzas bear the names of our best artists; that we continue together without "looking people over our shoulders", each one doing their part in the Faílde family, growing as artists and as human beings".

"Follow that path that is not closed, / Follow that path, but carefully"... says the chorus of one of its songs, and it’s also what Faílde proposes for the next ten years with "the consent of my ancestors, / I lend an ear, lower my head / If an elder gives me the key / I always listen to the teacher.

"Faílde is more than a surname/ I’m a mestizo, I’m the essence,/ I live by asking questions/ Don't call me competition".

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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